Video Game: Gabriel Knight
A series of PC point-and-click Adventure Game
titles, created by Jane Jensen
(who had worked on King's Quest VI
) and published by Sierra
, as well as the name of their primary hero
The first game was Gabriel Knight: Sins of the Fathers
. Gabriel Knight is an author and owner of a bookstore in New Orleans
. To overcome a writer's block he tries to use the material from a series of murders his policeman friend investigates. However, afflicted with freaky dreams
nightly, he comes to learn that he shares a family history with a local Voodoo sect within the city, one that hinges upon being able to free his bloodline from a curse that befell them years earlier. With the help of his assistant, Grace Nakimura, and local police officer (and best friend since childhood) Detective Franklin Mosely, Gabriel discovers his roots, learning that he is descended from a German family
, the Ritters, whose men were all Schattenjägers
; "Shadow Hunters
" tasked with battling the supernatural evils
of the world, which he accomplishes in this game by healing the bad blood
between his bloodline and that of Malia Gedde, a N'Awlins resident who hides a dark secret
Next came The Beast Within: A Gabriel Knight Mystery
, a Full Motion Video
entry which managed to buck the well-known trend of FMV games. This time, Gabriel has returned to his family home, Schloß Ritter, to assist the local citizens
with what they believe to be a werewolf attack
. Grace, feeling snubbed back in New Orleans, books a flight out to join him, and the pair take their respective lines of research, resulting in the revelation that the werewolf in question has a history with King Ludwig II
of Bavaria, one which nearly takes Gabriel's very soul.
Finally comes Gabriel Knight 3: Blood of the Sacred, Blood of the Damned
. Gabriel and Grace are asked to protect a prince's son from a new supernatural threat
, and while they pursue the kidnappers, links to The Knights Templar
and even more incredible things are discovered the deeper they delve.The entire series is available for digital purchase from GOG.com.
Also the first game in the series
is getting a 20th Anniversary remake with Jane Jensen and Robert Holmes' input, planned for release on October 15th, 2014. The possibility of a Gabriel Knight 4
getting made has also been confirmed, but whether or not it will actually be realized relies on the success of the remake.
This series demonstrates examples of:
- Acceptable Breaks from Reality: Even if Mosely is implied to bend the rules for Gabriel since they are friends, and the police force knows Gabriel is doing research for his books, if Mosely acted this way in real life, he'd be kicked off the force. Handwaved by Mosely taking the case to the Feds who did not care about such details.
- Especially if police knew Gabriel was doing research for his books, given that some were in league with the Voodoo cabal and were trying to keep the details of the murders a secret.
- And the level of influence of said cabal would also count as an acceptable break from reality.
- The presence of a ribcage is supposed to prevent one from tearing out one's own heart. Since the person in question was a Schattenjaeger, perhaps A Wizard Did It.
- Affably Evil: Dr. John in the first game and Von Glower in the second.
- Alignment-Based Endings: In Sins of the Fathers, Gabriel can choose at the end whether to try to save the possessed Malia from the pit she's dangling over, simply let her fall to let Tetelo die, or try to actively kill her to achieve the same.
- Ancient Conspiracy:
- Anti-Villain: Malia Gedde and Friedrich von Glower.
- Aristocrats Are Evil: Debatable; see Anti-Villain above, but Malia and Friedrich are both of very high social class. Also, all members of the Royal Bavarian Hunting Lodge (see Five Bad Band) necessarily have Blue Blood.
- As You Know: Some of the dialogue trees in the first game run into this.
- Apocalyptic Log: Acoording to a newspaper clipping from the year 1810, The Voodoo Murders have been happening ever since the early 19th Century. Also according to Gunters Journal, Gabriel discovers that this whole evil started as far back as the the 17th century.
- At the Opera Tonight: A rare example of the opera in question — "Der Fluch Des Engelhart", written exclusively for the game — being important to the plot. Doubles as a Crowning Moment of Awesome.
- Author Appeal: In-universe in the Voodoo Murders book Gabriel's expy seduces Grace's expy. Grace gets even by scaring his fans with tales of Gabriel's horrible scars.
- Awesome McCoolname: Gabriel Knight, 'nuff said.
- Ax-Crazy : Garr von Zell in The Beast Within.
- Badass Bookworm: Grace. She studied tai chi, too.
- Badass Grandpa: Wolfgang Ritter.
- Barred from the Afterlife: There is a reason it's called the werewolf curse. This makes the stakes at "The Beast Within" far more serious than "Sins of The Fathers". Especially once Gabriel is bitten by a werewolf.
- Beauty Is Never Tarnished: Mild exception in SOTF, where Dr. John clocks Grace a good one, prompting Mosely to gun him down.
- Belligerent Sexual Tension: Between Grace and Gabriel.
- Big Bad: Malia Gedde, In Gabriel Knight: Sins of the Fathers.
- Big "NO!": In the first game, when Gabriel first sees Tetelo possess Malia, after Wolfgang tears his own heart out so Gabriel can get the Schattenjäger amulet, and when Malia willingly falls to her death.
- There's also one in the second game, when it dawns on Gabriel that he killed the wrong werewolf, and is now cursed to become one.
- Bilingual Bonus: In the Beast Within most articles, notes and conversations written or spoken in German are never translated, partially to emphasize Gabriel's inability to communicate in this language.
- Likewise with the "Drei Drachen" poem in Sins of the Fathers. It's even creepier if you know German.
- And of course, 'Ritter' is German for Knight.
- Sins of the Fathers has some Creole French. You may even figure that "cabrit sans cor" means a human sacrifice.
- Bittersweet Ending: GK3 ends on a heartbreaking downer. Even though Gabriel prevents the Night Visitors from acquiring the blood of Christ, he returns to the hotel to find that Grace has left him and written him a note. It's implied that it says she left because she is uncertain of her relationship with Gabriel and has left in order to think about it. Even though he's saved the world, Gabriel is not able to get Grace. Doesn't help matters either that just moments before finally decided that he was in love with her.
- Black Magic: Voodoo in SOTF
- Blasting It out of Their Hands: Near the end of the first game, Tetelo magically blasts Mosely's gun out of his hand.
- But Not Too Black: Malia Gedde has a bronze skin color, especially compared to Dr. John. This is Justified however as Tetelo is "black-black" and Malia is implied to be the descendant of her and the German Gunter.
- But This Is Ridiculous!
- Butt Monkey: Mosely, very much so. The guy has pretty rotten luck in general and Gabriel also tends to take frequent advantage of him.
- Catapult Nightmare: Happens to Gabriel at the beginning of Sins of the Fathers, and presumably every time he has that dream.
- Cat Fight: In The Beast Within, Grace and Gerde, albeit verbally and nearly one-sided from Grace. In GK3, Grace and Madeline.
- Characterization Marches On: In Sins of the Father, Gerde was little more than a slightly helpful maid in Yodel Land costume (although what she says [or doesn't say] about Wolfgang at least implies what is later stated explicitly). In Beast Within, where Grace has far more interaction with her, not only is she dressed more modernly, but she also comes into her own as a character, especially given the knowledge that she was in love with Wolfgang.
- Chekhov's Skill: If you ask Mosely the right questions near the beginning of the game, you learn that he and Gabriel used to play Monkey in the Middle when they were kids. When they fight Tetelo, this hobby comes in very handy...
- Chess Motif: Near the end of GK3, there's a puzzle involving a chessboard. In order to solve it, Gabriel must move in the style of the Knight piece.
- Church Militant: Schattenjägers (in English, it means "Shadow Hunters"), a sort of a German Inquisiton.
- Gabriel Knight's family does comes from a long line of Shadow Hunters.
- Concert Climax: In The Beast Within.
- Continuity Nod: In Sins of the Father, when trying a certain action on Grace, Gabriel's fourth-wall comment is 'Don't mind if I do!'. Doing the same with the French tour guide in the third game results in 'Mind if I do!'.
- You can see the scars on Gabriel's arms that he sustained in Sins of the Fathers in the opening sequence of The Beast Within. On the other hand, while there are clearly scars on Gabriel's right arm, Malia wasn't in any position to cut anything other than his left arm.
- Corrupt Church: In Sins of the Father, the St. Louis Cathedral is a front for the Voodoo cabal.
- Cowboy Cop: Arguably Mosely, who does things for Gabriel he probably shouldn't.
- Crouching Moron, Hidden Badass: While Mosely's not exactly a moron and is a competent enough cop, he's still enough of a dorky Butt Monkey that finding out he's working for the CIA in GK3 is quite a level of implied badass.
- Through much of SOTF he looks little more than a piece of fat sitting in his office and allowing Gabriel to take advantage of him. The ability to think and act quickly he demonstrates in the crypt, where Gabriel mistakes him for dead, and which is revealed only in the last day, comes as a shock. And dispatching the fearsome Dr. John with a single shot may count as his moment of awesome. And then he catches a solid gold (read: incredibly heavy) medallion with one (injured) hand.
- Curse Escape Clause: Killing the very source of a werewolf's infection will end his curse. This becomes very important after Gabriel is infected and he must find and kill the head of the Bavarian werewolves to become human again.
- Cursed with Awesome: The immortal in part 3.
- Damsel in Distress: Grace, at the end of Sins of the Fathers.
- Darker and Edgier: Part of the reason these games stood out? They were Sierra entertainment games that not only had a serious plot, but complemented it with a Darker and Edgier setting to fit. Not to mention, they were for older players, but weren't enforcing strict adherence to code like Police Quest or adult like Leisure Suit Larry.
- Dark Is Not Evil: Whoever answered Grace's prayers in the second game did so by blowing out all of the candles in the chapel and leaving it completely dark, enabling Grace to steal some documents from Ludwig's urn so that she could help Gabriel.
- Dating Catwoman: Gabriel's relationship with Malia in the first game and arguably Von Glower in the second.
- Deadpan Snarker: Gabriel and Grace both have their moments.
- Depraved Bisexual: Preiss in The Beast Within
- Disney Villain Death: Malia Gedde (and along with her, Tetelo)
- Distressed Dude: Gabriel during the St. John's Eve conclave in Sins of the Fathers, and at the end of The Beast Within.
- Does Not Like Men: Certain details about the Gedde family implied that Tetelo didn't like men, although Gunter's betrayal certainly justified it:
- Malia's father died before she was born or so shortly afterward that she had no memory of him.
- All of the Geddes interred in the family crypt were women.
- Offerings of "male parts" were left at one of the big family crypts, which was implied to be the Gedde crypt.
- Tetelo (possessing Madame Lorelai) warned Gabriel to "Stay away from Malia Gedde, or you shall pay with your life!" Since this took place before Tetelo knew exactly who Gabriel was (she didn't figure that out until the St. John's Eve conclave a few days later), it's implied that she gave the same warning to every other man who had ever hooked up with the leader of the Gedde family.
- In the remake, the skulls of the past male members are all piled up in the Gedde crypt.
- The Dragon: Dr John to Malia and Tetelo; Garr von Zell to Friedrich von Glower.
- Dragon-in-Chief: Dr. John is much taller, stronger, and more malicious than Malia, and he has no qualms about killing Gabriel Knight even when Malia specifically ordered him not to: "DJ, keep eyes on GK but do not harm." At least he doesn't attack until Gabriel goes where he shouldn't.
- Similarly, von Zell is directly responsible for the murders that set off the events of the second game, and much more bloodthirsty—or at least much worse at concealing his bloodlust—than von Glower.
- Dream Sequence: Gabriel experiences a dream during his first visit to Schloß Ritter, which proves to be a metaphysical means for him to take up the title of Schattenjäger.
- There's another in The Beast Within in which Ludwig shows Gabriel the last actions of his life, which helps Gabriel solve the case, and free himself from the werewolf curse.
- Grace also has a dream sequence early on in The Beast Within, in which she's fleeing from a pack of wolves and gets rescued by Ludwig, only for him to turn into a wolf as well. It turns out to be significant foreshadowing of the plotline.
- Early-Bird Cameo: If the player has Gabriel investigate the Schattenjäger library in SOTF, he comes upon books relating to werewolves and vampires, the antagonists in the next two games.
- Family-Unfriendly Death: Wolfgang, Dr. John.
- Heck, to compensate for the fact that you can't die during the first 90% of each of the games (which is kinda unique in Sierra games), most of the deaths that do occur in the last sequences are in fact usually pretty gruesome. Getting your heart ripped out or your jugular slashed or strangled by a snake, getting your throat ripped open by a werewolf, getting sliced in half or your spine broken by being "folded the wrong way" are all part and parcel of the uglier side of the Schattenjäger business.
- Five-Bad Band: The Royal Bavarian Hunting Lodge in the second game:
- Foreshadowing: If you examine the confessional in GK3, Grace will mention that, being raised Buddhist, she thinks atoning for sin isn't as easy as simply saying sorry. The ending reveals Gabriel's family have been serving as Schattenjägers since the crucifixion of Christ, due to the role one of his ancestors, a Roman solider, played in it.
- Framing the Guilty Party: Gabriel did a variation of this when he tried to convince Grace to paint a snake "tattoo" onto his chest so that he could go to a "costume party." Grace immediately suspected that he was going on a date with Malia; at the time, Gabriel had no idea that Malia would even be at the Voodoo conclave, let alone a rather important participant, but Gabriel played up that angle to exploit Grace's jealousy.
- Girl of My Dreams: Tetelo is an interesting example of this trope; she has quite literally been giving the men of the Ritter family nightmares for generations, including Gabriel, who would later meet her in person. Oddly enough, other than the fact that Tetelo possesses Gabriel's love interest, there is nothing romantic about any of this.
- Gratuitous German: But then, who really wants to ditch the word Schattenjäger in exchange for its boring translation, "shadow hunter"?
- Guide Dang It: Being a Sierra adventure game, yeah, particularly in the third game. (See Moon Logic Puzzle)
- Gypsy Curse: The source of all the werewolf activity in The Beast Within.
- Have You Tried Not Being a Monster?: The Beast Within draws a lot of parallels between werewolves and homosexuality. This is blended with actual Ho Yay and Foe Yay. This trope is also played with in that King Ludwig's diary entries about his fears of becoming a werewolf are dismissed by mainstream historians as being a metaphor for his struggle with his homosexuality. A helpful historian (implied to be gay) corrects Grace on this; Ludwig was entirely comfortable with being gay, his fears about turning into a werewolf were exactly what they seemed on the surface.
- Heroic Sacrifice: Wolfgang, and in a big way. He literally rips his own heart out in order to let Gabriel retrieve the Schattenjäger talisman.
- Herr Doktor: Herr Doktor Klingmann, of course.
- Hesitation Equals Dishonesty: Every single one of your suspects in installment three will hesitate before claiming they are merely... taking a morning stroll... when you encounter them under suspicious circumstances, and their binoculars are just for... birdwatching, yeah. Mosely in particular spends half his early game dialogue dot dot dotting away at you.
- Hey, It's That Voice!: Tim Curry as Gabriel in the first and third installments. Also Michael Dorn as Dr. John, and Mark Hamill as Mosely! Iconic, veteran voice actors Jeff Bennett and Jim Cummings also had minor roles.
- Hell, just check out the imdb page, and prepare to have your mind blown.
- Human Sacrifice: Features heavily in Sins of The Father. "Cabrit sans cor."
- Hoist by His Own Petard: The villain of the third game summons a demon to kill Gabriel. Gabriel killing the demon kills the villain.
- Hollywood Voodoo: Zig-zagged - the first game actually contains a pretty detailed history of Voodoo, also mentioning Vodoun, Loa, Hoodoo, Gris-Gris, importance of certain holidays in Vodoun, etc. Justified in that most of the places you learn this from are in fact, a museum dedicated to Vodoun - they've Shown Their Work there. In fact, the media dubs the murders done in a ritualistic fashion the "Voodoo murders" because, well, they're more familiar with Hollywood Voodoo themselves!
- The aversion comes from the fact that the Big Bad is controlled by a former slave and voodoo priestess named Tetelo.
- Hyperspace Arsenal: Lampshaded at one point in Beast Within, when Grace comes upon a quite large "PRIVAT" sign, about as long as someone's torso. To show that she's taking it with her, the actress — the camera's POV being from the neckline up — holds it upright and slides it down... somewhere... and then turns back around and walks back towards the camera. There's no noticeable bulge in her clothing, and she's not wearing her large coat at the time. It's actually rather amusing.
- Hell, at one point she has a pigeon wrapped in a pillowcase stuffed into her coat, which she then smuggles past a bunch of guards at a major tourist attraction.
- Inverted once with Gabriel in the first game. If you take money from the hounfor storeroom several times, Gabriel will start saying that he can't take any more.
- I Cannot Self-Terminate: "You must do it!", as he throws Gabriel his rifle.
- Mild subversion: von Glower can't kill von Zell because of their werewolf bond, and it's entirely possible the whole hunting trip was just a Batman Gambit to get Gabriel to do the job for him.
- Implausible Deniability: Willy Walker did NOT say "Cabrit sans cor." You must have heard wrong, man.
- In Medias Res: 3 starts with an abstract at best opening video, after which Gabriel spawns in his hotel room without a single line of exposition. The player has to piece together what he's doing in Rennes-Le-Chateau through NPC conversations.
- All There in the Manual: The immediate leadup is instead detailed in a short comic that came with the original releases of the game.
- It Gets Easier: Or so Grace tries to convince Gabriel, at the end of The Beast Within, when he's quite despondent and feeling guilty about the events of the game and his reponsibilities as a Schattenjager. His expression shows rather clearly that he doesn't believe it.
- It's for a Book: Gabriel is writing a book about the Voodoo Murders, which is finished and published by the second game. And evidently, he makes Mosely look like an idiot in there.
- I Want Them Alive: Malia in the middle of the first game leaves a message for Dr. John: "Keep eyes on GK but do not harm."
- Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Gabriel.
- King of Beasts: Schloß Ritter has a lion motif in its decor that Grace unabashedly snarks on: "King of beasts. That about sums it up!"
- Large Ham: Kriminalkommissar Leiber.
- Late-Arrival Spoiler: That Mosely wasn't actually killed in the first game is spoiled quite early in the second and third games.
- Leitmotif: Some of which (Gabriel's theme, the Schattenjäger theme) span over all three games.
- Light Is Not Good: The Agris, Tetelo's tribe, were descended from a cult of sun-worshippers. Bloodthirsty, barbaric sun-worshippers.
- Limited Wardrobe: In the first game, Gabriel has a whole closetful of white shirts and jeans. In the sequels, the characters apparently didn't pack more than one set of clothes to travel abroad.
- Love Triangle: All over the place, seeing as how Gabriel is a Handsome Lech, but the main ones are probably:
- Gabriel, Mosely, and Grace form a sort of dysfunctional one in all three games, though poor Mosely doesn't really stand a chance with Grace.
- Possibly Gabriel, Malia, and Grace in the first game as well, depending on whether Grace was jealous of Malia (as Gabriel claims) or merely suspected that she was dangerous (as Grace herself claims).
- Grace thinks there's one between her, Gabriel and Gerde in GK2 (causing a one-sided Cat Fight), until she finds out Gerde actually loved a different Schattenjäger.
- A more straightforward example between Gabriel, Grace and Madeline in GK3.
- Magical Database: In GK3 Grace creates SIDNEY (Schattenjäger Information Database), a computer database of information relevant to Gabriel's cases. It in turn is based on the library of actual books that the Schattenjägers maintained in Castle Ritter for the same purpose.
- May-December Romance: Gerde and Wolfgang.
- The Maze: Bayou St. John in the first game. You can't navigate without a tracking device.
- Made of Iron: Dr John is every bit as resilient as he is big. In certain death scenes he takes a roundhouse kick to the face or several right hooks to the jaw followed by several blows to the stomach. None of them even make him flinch.
- Meaningful Name: Gabriel Knight, hearkening to the angel and the job, of course; furthermore, the name "Ritter" is a German title meaning roughly "knight" and translates literally into "(a male) knight."
- Meganekko: Grace is one in Sins of the Fathers, though she presumably got contact lenses for the sequels.
- Mentor Occupational Hazard: Wolfgang falls victim to this on Day 8 of Sins of the Fathers.
- Messy Hair: Gabriel's hair perpetually looks like he just woke up. Actually is a plot point when in GK1 he has to flatten and smooth it down with hair gel to pass as "Father MacLaughlin".
- Mission Control: Grace offers a low-tech version of this role in Sins of the Fathers.
- Though she's Promoted to Playable in the sequels, she still acts as this in the last levels of Blood of the Sacred, Blood of the Damned, staying in contact with Gabriel (the active character) via radio and guiding him through the finale.
- Moon Logic Puzzle: GK3's infamous "cat hair mustache" puzzle, which Old Man Murray used as an example of how adventure gaming killed itself and which is the inspiration for the current trope image. You must make a fake mustache to disguise yourself as a man who doesn't have a mustache (after drawing one on his ID) by scaring a cat through a hole you've rigged with tape and then affixing the stolen cat hair to your lip with maple syrup. 'Cause that's what makes the disguise pop.
- Actually, the "get a fake mustache to disguise yourself as a man without a mustache" thing makes sense in a way, since Gabriel and Mosely look nothing alike, but having a big moustache on both the man and the photo can well cause a casual observer to think "yep, same guy". As to how you get it and how you attach it to your lip... no excuse.
- The game producer Steven Hill later said that the team was on a tight budget and breaking deadlines and had to replace a fairly complex not-yet-implemented subplot with this hack. He doesn't remember what was intended originally, and Jane Jensen doesn't tell.
- Most Writers Are Writers: Gabriel, of course. He starts off writing a book about the "Voodoo Murders."
- Multiethnic Name: Grace Nakimura.
- Multiple Endings: The first game has two possible endings depending on whether you try to pull Malia out of the chasm, try to push her, or do nothing during the finale. Since there were sequels, only one of them is canonical, as Malia kills Gabriel if he doesn't try to save her, or kills herself if he does.
- No Canon for the Wicked: The "neutral" and "evil" choices for the ending of GK1 result in Gabriel's death, which obviously isn't canon.
- Non Standard Game Over: In The Beast Within, if you mess up at the point where Gabriel is in the dressing room in the theater you get an ending of sorts where you see a newspaper article stating that Gabriel has disappeared, presumably either killed in wolf form or taken away by Van Glower, and, even worse, Grace is the prime suspect in his murder because of all the strange things she was doing to actually help him.
- Novelization: The first two games were adapted into books by Jane Jensen.
- The Obi-Wan: The aging uncle, Wolfgang Ritter, serves as this to Gabriel.
- Only the Knowledgable May Pass: Dr. John subjects Gabriel to this when Gabriel crashes the Voodoo conclave, and promptly kills Gabriel if he fails the test. Not only must Gabriel be wearing an animal mask and have a snake tattoo; he must also prove that he knows who the Gedde tribe's primary Loa are.
- The Other Darrin: Dean Erickson replaces Tim Curry as Gabriel in The Beast Within. Curry returned for the 3rd game.